Saturday, July 16, 2011


Wednesday night after finishing up my time at Alterna I headed to Comer GA to visit Jubilee. I arrived around 9:00 that evening and talked with a few of the people there before going to bed to rest up for the next day.

On Thursday morning I woke up early, ate some breakfast and then headed out to pick blueberries!

At Jubilee they grow a lot of fruits and vegetables but blueberries are their main crop and I came at the right time to be able to go out and pick some. They also have cows, chickens, rabbits and a large pond open to the public for fishing. They try to be as sustainable as they can but they still go in to town to buy some things that they do not make or grow themselves. Many of their fruits and vegetables were used for their meals and I have to say it was all quite delicious. It made me really wish that we had more land at Bonhoeffer so that we could have a garden but hopefully we can use one of the community gardens in Dallas.

After picking some blueberries, Carolyn, one of the co-founders of Jubilee, took me on a tour. She told me the history of Jubilee and that is started as a branch off from Koinonia Farm because Koinonia was getting rather large and so some of the partners decided to go searching for another place to expand a similar ministry. They eventually stumbled upon some land that a dairy farmer was selling and thus began Jubilee partners. They started living in tents on the grounds and started building houses. One of the first buildings was the Koinonia house which is where volunteers and visitors stay and where the dining hall is located.
They were unsure of the identity that Jubilee Partners would take on until one day there was an article in the newspaper about refugee camps across the world and that there were various organizations in the US that would take in refugees and help them transition to a new life. They prayed about it and then contacted Atlanta Refugee Services and soon received their first guests (about 40 Cuban refugees). Since the first group of guests, Jubilee has received people from Cuba, Nicaragua, Burundi, Vietnam, Colombia, Burma, and many other countries. They stay for usually about two months to learn English and slowly transition into American lifestyle. As you can imagine, to come from a refugee camp to downtown Atlanta would be a major culture shock, but by living at Jubilee and having farming, animals, and a peaceful surrounding with loving neighbors helps them to transition.

In addition to the refugee guests, Jubilee also has about 12 volunteers at any given time. Some stay for a season while others may stay for a whole year or even longer. The rest of the people at Jubilee are Partners. There are the original founding Partners and then they welcome other partners through a novitiate process in which the person starts as a volunteer for a period of a year and then after that time they become a novice and begin having regular meetings with the partners to see if they feel called to be a partner and if the partners also sense this person would make a good partner. The partners do not have to make any certain commitment like to stay there for life because they acknowledge that things can change and God can call them to something new.

Although I do not see myself living in or starting a community like Jubilee, I admire the community and can take a lot from them like their simplicity and radical hospitality. Yesterday, right before I left, they had a send off for one of the families. The family had been their for two months and they were moving to Atlanta. It was a tearful goodbye for many which reflected the love that they all had for one another. Even though they had only known each other for a short while, they had grown to feel for one another and love one another.



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